Car Tax, Vouchers & Sage Grouse

Gov. Otter’s people proposed several large tax hikes Tuesday to pay for road work in Idaho. The bills still have to be introduced in one the the privileged committees before they are debated. Meanwhile, Canyon County mayors are riding the bus.

A school voucher plan was introduced to some intense discussion begging editorial cartoonage, SPTD. Luna’s teacher merit pay lite passes Senate committee, sage grouse ESA review begins again… in today’s Newsrack.

And on the docket this morning: gun and lobby reform, repeal of Idaho’s in-state labor first law for the Capitol could be up for debate in the Senate and later, Pre-K gets a once over [see Unda‘ for details].

If I miss any good reads today, feel free to leave a link in the comments section people.

Flat rig registration fee gets mixed welcome. Otter wants to raise the car tax fee to a flat $150 for state, plus current county charges. Could nearly quadruple registration cost in Ada. Also proposes rental car tax, trucker fees and shifting ISP budget. Druzin in the Statesman. Would raise $202 million. Rep. King: “My neighbor who is 90 years old drives very little. So why not raise your gas tax? I think for seniors, it would be fairer to charge per mile.” Miller, AP in the Press Tribune. HBO poll. Vandals upset.

It’s called vouchers. Rep. Vander Woude wants tax break (up to about $400) for private school parents. Like the Christian school on whose board he sat. “This is not an overly large tax break for the wealthy.” Rep. Barrett says diversity is a choice too: “If you want them to be in a diversity-type situation, you can do that. If you want them in a private situation, you can do that.” Ferguson in the LMT [subscrip].

iSTARS makes it through Senate committee. On 5-4 vote. 1 percent raise for all teachers plus a scaled back bonus plan. Teachers’ union wanted 3 percent raises and offered to pay for interim committee to study the issue further. Otter backs plan, Gannon concedes. Russell in the Spokesman. Miller, AP in the Times-News.

Legislature may act when districts take matters into own hands. Pre-K is widespread already. Informational hearings this afternoon in Senate Ed. Information in Unda’ the Rotunda this morning. Hoffman, Boise Weekly.

Pee in a cup for college. Students who pledge not to smoke up and prove it get scholarships. According to bill that passed the House Tuesday. Rep. Barrett has a point: “What’s next? Will we pay college kids with money if they don’t rob a bank or steal a car? We are telling our young people we don’t trust them to obey the law and don’t believe that a drug-free life is an end in itself.” Shifrin, AP in the Press Tribune.

CAFO bill passes Senate. Allows affected persons to testify at CAFO hearings, even if they live more than a mile away. Wright on Boise State Radio.

Ysursa wants to randomize names on ballots. Sec. of State would distribute a random alphabet on each election. Davidson in the Post Register.

Melaleuca non-compete bill passes committee. IF lotion company has been burned by former employees starting rival companies. Bill limits where “key” employees can go work for 18 months. Davidson in the Post Register.

Idaho foreclosures up 92 percent from last Jan. Appear to be slowing. Realtors hiring a bus to keep the number down. Estrella in the Statesman.

Chicken-sized bird review. Sage grouse under court-ordered review, again. Feds ignored, tampered with or otherwise failed to consider massive habitat loss, data. Dvorak, AP in the Press Tribune. Consideration for ESA listing. Kramer in the Spokesman.

Urban deer and elk. IDFG’s Jim Unsworth: “People ought to go look at the elk now and wonder where they’re going to be 50 years from now.” Population trends for Idaho’s big game. Elk, BHS, muleys down. Phillips in the Statesman.

Rammell, 47, plays the age card. Risch, 64, Phenneger, 71 defend themselves at Burley fundraiser. Rammell looking ahead: “I’m willing to commit the next 24 years of my life for this job that’s something Jim Risch or Richard Phenneger can’t offer.” Greene, S. Idaho Press.

Bussing it gets less like hitching. Caldwell, Nampa get fixed bus stops. Boise next. Ceja in the Press Tribune.

Craig on the Blogs: WaPo, Wonker, Gaywire, himself.

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